How To Do A Gel Coated Manicure At Home And Other Tips

Gel coat manicures are nice because the gel coating gives your nails a protective coating that helps your manicure last days longer without the color chipping or cracking. You can get gel manicures at a salon like Nails By Yen, but there are a number of gel coat polishes on the market today in case you want at -home option to supplement your salon visits. These gel polishes are fairly inexpensive, and are great for an at-home manicure in a pinch. See below for instructions to do a gel coated manicure at home and other helpful tips.

What You Need:

  • Gel coat polish
  • Nail polish (color of your choice)
  • Clear top coat
  • Nail file and buffer
  • Dry oil (to dry nails faster - optional)
  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton balls


  1. Start by filing your nails in one smooth motion across the entire nail. You can file nails so they look square, rounded, or pointed - the choice is yours.
  2. Buff your nails to help smooth the surface of the nail and to help smooth out ridges on the nail.
  3. Remove any leftover nail polish using nail polish and cotton balls.
  4. Next, wash your hands to remove any file dust and nail polish remover from your nails, then dry your nails thoroughly.
  5. Before painting your nails, be sure to allow each coating to dry in between
  6. Take the gel coat to start and apply a thin coating to your bare nails.
  7. Paint your nails using your nail polish color.
  8. Add a second coat of the gel coating.
  9. Paint a second coat of colored polish.
  10. Top the color with the clear top coating.
  11. Finally, paint your nails with one last gel coating.
  12. Top it all off with some dry oil to help your nails dry (otherwise they may take longer). This step is optional.

Be sure to apply each coat in thin coats, as thicker coats will take longer to dry.

Polish Removal Tips

With all of those gel coats, taking off your polish will take some work. Start by filing the surface of your nails to help remove some of the gel and top coats. Then use nail polish remover with acetone to help remove the other coats. At home polish is a lot different than gel coating at the nail salon. Gel coated manicures at the salon should be removed by the salon to help prevent damage to your nails.

Help keep your manicure longer by keeping nails trim, using gloves when cleaning with harsh cleaning products or doing the dishes, and applying coats of gel polish every few days.